Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Public Speaking: Marketing Your Continuing Education Courses

You are a public speaker recently approved as a licensed continuing education provider. Now what? How can you use your public speaking training expertise to reach the unique continuing education audience? What techniques work when marketing your continuing education units (CEUs) courses and products? With a few marketing tips, you can set a new standard and differentiate yourself from other trainers.

Find your market.
Fortunately, the state that grants licenses to continuing education providers often give newly approved providers a database listing contact information for license holders. The database is a very useful marketing tool for public speakers new to the continuing education field. Though you will very likely receive many offers to buy lists of contacts when advertisers learn of your new designation as CEU provider, don’t buy any lists! You can find the people who need your products and services on the free list the state provides or by visiting the official state government web site.

Learn who your competition is.
Know what your competition is sending out. Save every piece of your competitors’ promotional material that crosses your path and put it in a swipe file. Use the information to improve on what they are doing.

Create marketing materials.
I use post cards to announce that I am offering a CEU course and have found that they work very well. Here’s a piece of advice: don’t go to the big office supply store and print your own. Have your post cards professionally printed. If you use a printer that also mails your post cards, you’ll save yourself a lot of grief. The cards will look professional and you won’t have to place stamps on stacks of cards. In addition, it will only add about a half cent more to the cost of each postcard because the printer gets bulk mail rates. Don‘t do your own postcards!

Trainees need training materials to reinforce their training and to help them prepare for re-licensing. Think of products to compliment your course, such as videos, workbooks and learning aids. As with other public speaking events, if you have back of the room products, you have a captive market.

Differentiate yourself.
Take the opportunity to make your postcards stand out from the competition. People who are required to take CEU courses in order to maintain their professional licenses are inundated with advertisements from CEU providers. Make yours unique. I use the maximum size card the postal service will allow. I also add a picture of myself in front of a classroom. When I asked a class why they chose my course over the competition, some people said it was because my postcard was larger and my picture was on it.

If you are speaking out of town, sort your database of contacts by zip code and locate all potential CEU clients within 50 miles of the hotel you’ll be staying in. Then, mail them a post card letting them know you will be conducting CEU training for their profession in their region. Follow up with a phone call as the date approaches.

Videos, audio tapes and other public speaking products can also be used to market your continuing education business. Just adapt the content to a classroom or online setting and make it relevant to the trainees.

Make $5500 or more every time you speak!

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